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Data is becoming an indispensable asset for businesses of all forms and sizes. Whether it’s the extraction of business insights, forecasting, or chalking out business decisions, data seems to be playing a pivotal role in all these activities.

The Challenges of Data Sovereignty & How the Cloud Mitigates Them

As enterprises continue to increase their reliance upon data, cyber miscreants are also equally “up to the task”, in their attempts to wreak havoc with data. In the event of a data breach, things have now gotten way beyond just the traditional “loss to business repute”.

Now, data “mishandling” on the part of any organization tends to attract strict regulatory actions, which may also include financial ramifications. This scenario has paved the way for a very important new role within an organization, which is that of a Chief Data Officer (CDO).

In this post, we will discuss the concept of Data Sovereignty, the role of an effective CDO, and how Cloud Computing solutions are playing an instrumental part in mitigating the present day’s data sovereignty challenges.

What is Data Sovereignty?

The closest analogy one can draw with Data Sovereignty is the sovereignty of a country itself. We can define data sovereignty as the set of all those rules, laws, and regulations that govern data management within the confines of a country’s jurisdiction.

Data sovereignty regulations govern the collection and processing of all the data within a specific country. In other words, data sovereignty rules will come into effect from the collection phase of data, and remain in vogue right down to the destruction phase of that data, within a particular country or jurisdiction.

How Data Sovereignty Differs from Data Residency?

It is common for the concepts of data sovereignty to get confused with data residency laws. Data residency is more of a business/enterprise level decision, as to where data will be stored, till the completion of its entire lifecycle.

It is pertinent to mention here that in present-day scenarios, businesses will have to formulate their data residency plans, strictly in line with the applicable data sovereignty laws/regulations that are in vogue.

A Chief Data Officer’s (CDO) Key Responsibilities

While this is a fairly new position that is making its way into the modern enterprise, let us outline some of the most common, and key responsibilities of a Chief Data Officer (CDO) in an organization.

A Chief Data Officer’s (CDO) Key Responsibilities

Prevention of Data Breaches

This is an overarching objective, which falls under the collective domain of a CDO, and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). However, in the current scenario, where data is increasingly making its way to Cloud infrastructures, the CDO will have the final say; when it comes to data security protocols.

Authorization-Based Data Access

Gone are the days when employees could be given “un-conditional” access to the enterprise data, regardless of whether that data was even relevant to the performance of that employee’s job role or otherwise.

Instead, the CDO will ensure that access to enterprise data by employees follows an authorization mechanism. In addition to this, the CDO will also record the grounds upon which any employee of the organization was given access to any form of data.

Design and Implement Data Protection Policies

This is yet another area where the valuable input of Chief Information Security Officers (CISO) will come in handy, for the CDO in designing and implementing data protection policies across the enterprise.

Adherence to Data Lifecycle Management

It is the CDO’s major responsibility that all the data lifecycle management protocols that have been defined by the enterprise, are being followed in true letter and spirit. These include encryption protocols and storage guidelines, right down to data destruction practices.

How Does Cloud Computing Mitigate Data Sovereignty Challenges?

Apparently, one would argue that Cloud Computing environments make data governance an even more challenging affair for CDOs. Fact of the matter is, Cloud Computing infrastructures can help mitigate data governance challenges, even if an enterprise operates in multiple jurisdictions.

Leading Cloud Service Providers (CSP), like dinCloud, now have a large footprint of highly advanced data centers. CSPs are investing aggressively in relatively localized data centers to simultaneously mitigate latency and data sovereignty concerns.

By selecting the Cloud provider’s localized data center location, an enterprise removes any inconsistencies within the data regulatory framework that arise in situations where data is collected within one jurisdiction and stored in a cloud provider’s data center that falls in another jurisdiction.

The multi-layered security measures of leading Cloud Service Providers (CSP), like dinCloud, also make the job of CDOs a whole lot easier. By moving their data to the cloud provider with the right data and cyber security posture, CDOs are able to “outsource” most of their data security concerns over to their cloud provider.


Given the present-day importance of data, and the accompanying complexities, the role of any Chief Data Officer (CDO) is quite challenging. Cloud Computing solutions play their bit in mitigating Data Sovereignty and Governance challenges, by offering a robust cyber security posture.

For enterprises that operate in multiple jurisdictions, with a ranging set of Data Sovereignty laws, the best option is to adopt the most stringent laws and establish them as a baseline for implementation across the enterprise. This will ensure that an enterprise is compliant with all the relatively lesser stringent data sovereignty regulations, by default.

Data is indeed an indispensable commodity for businesses in today’s analytics-driven business environment. With the right vision, skillset, and Cloud Service Provider (CSP) by your side, Data Sovereignty needs can be met with utmost diligence.

Contact dinCloud, an ATSG company, to mitigate your Data Sovereignty challenges, as we have a large footprint of highly advanced data centers, which comply with some of the best international standards for data security and privacy.